Posts Tagged ‘Feast of Dedication’

First Night of Hanukkah

First night of Hanukkah excerpt from the study guide, Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts available on amazon.com

Feast of Dedication – Hanukkah

“Then came the Festival of Dedication [footnote: Hanukkah] at Jerusalem. It was winter,and Yeshua was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade” (John 10:22). 

The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah is not a designated Feast of the LORD, however Yeshua went to the Temple in Jerusalem during this festival and revealed himself to the people.  Hanukkah has its roots in anti-semitism and the leader of a great nation’s desire for the destruction of the Jewish people.  It is celebrated in November/December in the winter.  

The historical account of Hanukkah is found in the inter-testamental book of 1 Maccabees. There are numerous suppositions as to why Maccabees was not included in the canon of Scriptures, but 1 and 2 Maccabees are found in the Septuagint used by the Catholic church and the eastern Orthodox churches.  Whatever the reason for its exclusion from the canon, Yeshua was found in the Temple during the celebration of his nation’s victory over anti-semitism.  

In 167 BCE (Before Common Era), King Antiochus (Greek: anti-christ) of Syria desired to Hellenize (make everything Greek) the empire of Alexander the Great.    He made Judaism illegal.  This caused a conflict between the Greeks who had their own gods and culture and the Jews who worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and lived according to the Torah commands. 

Initially, Antiochus desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by sacrificing pigs on the Altar and putting their blood all over the Holy Place.   He ordered the Levite priests to make sacrifices away from the Temple and demanded the Jewish people follow Greek sacrificial rituals and customs.  When the Jews continued to read Torah, keep the Sabbath, eat according to God’s dietary instructions and circumcise their sons, they became enemies of the state.  If they were caught following any of God’s commands, they had the choice to submit to the new governing authority or die.  

One Levite priest, Mattathias, was commanded to sacrifice to Zeus on an altar away from the Temple.  He refused.  A nearby Jewish man stepped forward and obeyed the soldier’s order.   Mattathias killed the man and the soldier.  Thus began what is known as the Maccabean revolt.  

Mattathias had a son named Judah.  He was given the nickname Maccabee, meaning ‘hammer.’  With the realization they would have to fight the Syrian armies in order to regain control of the Temple, maintain their customs and survive as a nation, Judah put together a small army that fought for years against the massive Greek armies.  After seven years of war, Judah and his army defeated the Syrians and regained control of the Temple in Jerusalem.  He located faithful Levite priests to restore the Temple and to rebuild the Altar.  Once everything was cleansed and restored, it was ready to be rededicated back to God.  According to the instructions in Torah,this process would take eight days.

There is a story in the Talmud (the oral law) that says when the priests went to light the great Menorah, they found only enough consecrated oil to last one day.  Miraculously, the oil lasted the full eight days, the time required for consecrating new holy oil, and thus came forth the miracle of the oil. It is from these events that the Feast of Dedication or the eight nights of Hanukkah came to be established.

Eight Nights of Hanukkah

Each evening of Hanukkah as the sun sets, a special menorah or Hanukkiah is lit.  A Hanukkiah can be bought online or simply created from 9 candles on a table; however make one significantly different to be the shamash or ‘helper candle.’    The activities for Hanukkah are designed for one topic every day for eight days, however, one topic can be developed to last the entire week of Hanukkah;  thus giving this section an eight-year outline of study.

First Night of Hanukkah – Anti-semitism & Persecution

“For you are a people set apart as holy for Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure” (Deuteronomy 7:6). 

Family Study and Activity:

On the first night of Hanukkah, light the most separate candle or shamash on the Hanukkiah.  From the shamash, light the first night’s candle.  After you light your Hanukkiah, place it in a window to show your solidarity with the chosen people of God. 

Define shamash:

Persecution is not new to the Jewish people.  They have been persecuted since their time of slavery in Egypt! There will always be anti-semitic people like Haman, Antiochus, the Romans, the Crusaders and Hitler who want the destruction of God’s chosen people.  The greatest persecutions demand the Jewish people stop being Jewish by disobeying the instructions of Yahweh in the Torah.  This is not something they would ever do and, in spite of severe consequences, have faithfully guarded the Word of God throughout the millennia with their lives.  It is because of their steadfastness to the Torah and the Prophets that we have the Bible today.  It is because of the courageous actions of the Maccabees protecting the lineage of Judah that Yeshua, our salvation, could be born.

1. Read Matthew 5:10-12, James 1:2-3, 1 Peter 5:6-7, 2 Timothy 2:3, Revelation 13:10 and Revelation 14:12.  How did each of  these Jewish men deal with persecution from their own people?  People from the nations?

Peter:

James:

John:

Sha’ul:

Timothy:

Yeshua:

2.  Read Romans 11:16-20.  Discuss the warning Sha’ul gave to the church in Rome.  Did the Roman church heed the warnings?  Why or why not?

3.  How has Rome influenced the church today?  Are these influences easily recognized?  Why or why not?

4.  Should Roman influences be removed from a pure walk of faith?  Why or why not?

5.  Read Revelation 3:15-16. Hot and cold in these verses refer to mixing the holy ‘hot’ with the profane ‘cold’ as in the golden calf account in Exodus 32.  How has the influence of the Roman church made the Body of Christ ‘lukewarm’?

6.  Compare how the Maccabees dealt with the Hellenization of their faith with that of the Romanization of the faith the actions of believers.

7.  Read the requirements for being a saint in Revelation 14:12.  Are you a saint?  Why or why not?

8.  What does it mean for a saint to ‘patiently endure’?

9.  Have you ever experienced persecution for your faith in Yeshua/Jesus?  In what way?  By whom?

10.  What is the difference between a trial and persecution?  

Define trial:

Define persecution:

11.  If you celebrated Hanukkah do you think you would be persecuted by Jews? Friends? Christians? Why or why not? 

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Hanukkah Word: Anti-semitism

“I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

Many years ago I was listening to a Messianic Jew and non-Jew discuss the Biblical roots of the Christian faith on a talk radio show. A woman called in and said, “If I had known Jesus was Jewish, I would not have become a Christian.”

Anti-semitism.

When our family began celebrating the Feasts of the LORD in Leviticus 23 along with Purim and Hanukkah, we were asked if we were becoming ‘Jewish.’ What is wrong with becoming ‘Jewish’ when all of our Scriptures were written by Jews (aka physical descendants of Abraham, Issac and Jacob) and our Savior is Jewish? What’s wrong with looking ‘Jewish’ when Sha’ul commended those in Thessalonica for being imitators of those Jewish congregations that are united in Messiah Yeshua?

“For, brothers, you came to be imitators of God’s congregations in Y’hudah that are united with the Messiah Yeshua …” (1 Thessalonians 2:14).

Anti-semitism.

In the past few years I hear many say that we shouldn’t listen to the rabbis, the sages, the Jewish people, because they added to the Torah, they created the Talmud, and they don’t know Messiah. I often wonder if these same people realize from where these Jewish men developed their rules and regulations. It was their heart to obey God even in the smallest ‘jot and tittle’ so they spent hours and days, months and years studying the commandments of Yahweh. They described their understanding for how to obey the commandments. Their intention was not to add burdens upon the people even though that is what happened when their rules were considered equal to God’s commandments. But, they were just men trying to obey the God of Isra’el to the best intent of their heart, mind and soul.

We can learn a lot from those who went before us and we should. Rather than calling ‘madmade’ tradition something that has bound the Jewish people together for millennia, we should seek to understand the reasoning behind the tradition. With the Spirit of God in our lives, we should be able to discern which traditions nullify God’s commandments and which traditions do not. When non-Jewish believers put as many years into studying the Word and perfecting obedience to the best intent of our hearts and minds, perhaps then we can make judgmental assumptions. Until non-Jewish believers depart from the human traditions that have bound their ideologies, there can be no judgment on the Jewish people.

“You depart from God’s command and hold onto human tradition” (Mark 7:8)

Anti-semitism.

Anti-semitism is a lurking disease in the darkness of this world, but when it appears in the lives of those who carry the Light of Messiah Yeshua, it needs to be dealt with, however subtle it may appear to be. It is anti-semitism to believe that the myriads of Christian denominations, Hebrew Roots groups, Torah Observant groups, and the plethora of other religious delineations have greater understanding of the God of Isra’el than the Jewish people through whom God chose to birth salvation, Yeshua.

“You people don’t know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22).

The Word of God says the Jewish people have a veil over their eyes. It needs to be removed, not judged. The only One who can remove the veil is the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua. For those who know his personal deliverance, it is anti-semitism to keep that salvation from even one of ‘lost sheep of the House of Isra’el.’

“What is more, their minds were made stonelike; for to this day the same veil remains over them when they read the Old Covenant; it has not been unveiled, because only by the Messiah is the veil taken away”  (2 Corinthians 3:14-16).

Never forget. Without the Jewish people, there would be no covenants, no promises, no Word of God: written on pages between leather covers or in the flesh as Messiah. To read the Bible, written entirely by Jewish people over many centuries and not love those same people who gave their lives over and over to protect it is:

Anti-semitism

“It is not enough that you are merely my servant to raise up the tribes of Ya‘akov and restore the offspring of Isra’el. I will also make you a light to the nations, so my salvation can spread to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

Anti-semitism in the heart of Antiochus Ephiphanes led to the near destruction of the Jewish people, their Torah and their Temple. But our great God, Yahweh Elohim, empowered a mighty deliverer. Judah Maccabee, along with a small army of courageous, spiritual men, brought his brothers and sisters victory over anti-semitism and restored them to their Land, their Biblical traditions, and their Temple.

Anti-semitism in the heart of Haman, a descendant of the Amalekites, led to the near destruction of the Jewish people and their culture. But our great God, Yahweh Elohim, through the faithfulness of the humble Persian Queen Esther, along with everyone in the city of Susa who prayed and fasted for three days and nights, gave His people victory over death and anti-semitism. He eventually returned them to their Land where Nehemiah and Ezra rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and the restored the Temple.

God says curses and blessings are determined by how the brothers and sisters of Yeshua are treated (Matthew 10:42). Like each of us, the ‘lost sheep of the House of Isra’el’ desire to know salvation and guard the commandments of God as He intended. Celebrating their miraculous deliverance as a nation of people is the first step in combatting anti-semitism.

©2016 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.  

Hanukkah vs. Christmas, the Alternative?

For numerous Biblical reasons, our family stopped celebrating Christmas many years ago.  Our relatives didn’t understand our reasonings, but accepted the decision as best they could.  One side still sent Christmas presents that we reminded our children to accept with gratefulness because ‘every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).   The other side began wrapping Christmas gifts in Hanukkah paper.  Though that was their way of respecting our decision, Hanukkah is not a Jewish substitute, replacement, or alternative to Christmas.  Hanukkah and Christmas have two very different historical, spiritual backgrounds and have nothing in common with one another.

The roots and traditions of Christmas can be found in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia on which the Catholic church sprinkled holy water. They incorporated the birth of a non-Jewish Jesus and created the Christ Mass (which ironically means ‘death sacrifice’).   Those who embrace Christmas believing it Jesus’ birthday  are doing nothing more than acknowledging catholicism as the roots of their faith (even if they are protestants who reject everything catholic).   In fact, all of Christianity and secular society for this one day of the year become catholic in their celebrations and promote the idolatrous Saturnalia with a holiday of stars, wreathes, greenery, and gift giving.  

“Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter …” (John 10:22)

The events surrounding Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication (John 10:22), are found in the Apocrypha. Its roots are in Jewish history during the time when Alexander the Great wanted to Hellenize the world.  It was during this time period that the Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judea to the Greek Palestine in order to expedite the destruction of the nation and people of Isra’el.

Alexander’s cohort Antiochus Epiphanes (means ‘antichrist manifest’) went about ‘Palestine’  forcing the Jewish people to renounce their faith in the God of Isra’el or die.  He sought to destroy the people and the lineage through whom the Messiah would come. 

The Jewish people were not allowed to circumcise their children, celebrate Passover nor any of God’s other holy days, or offer sacrifices in the Temple.  As Antiochus’ armies entered Jerusalem, they desecrated the Most Holy Place in the Temple with pig’s blood.  This is the same Temple that Muslim world leaders claim never existed; the same place where an Islamic mosque stands.   

Our family is not nor ever was catholic thus we do not celebrate Christmas by taking part in the Christ Mass.   Our children were raised to understand the historically pagan roots of Christmas and have never felt as if they were missing some great holiday.

Once we read that the prophet Jeremiah warned God’s people about cutting down a tree and bringing it into the house, we stopped cutting down a Christmas tree and decorating it with all its lights, ornaments, and angels. We stopped following the customs of the world like Advent calendars and candle wreaths.

Instead, we taught our children about Hanukkah and the anti-semitism of the Greek/Roman world, the same anti-semitism that exists today in the church because of its catholic-rooted heritage along with the growing ideology of hatred for Isra’el in the much-tolerated religion of Islam.  We taught our children that obeying the commands of God are more important than traditions of men and the culture in which we live.

Our children are grown and have their own lives, but each still remembers the Maccabees and their fight to free the Jews from being Hellenized with paganism.   They light their menorahs for eight days to remember the re-dedication of the Temple Altar back to Elohim.  Each night with the candle light they remember the prophecies for when the Messiah Yeshua returns and sets His feet on the Mount of Olives. He will enter the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem and the Temple area and will cleanse a newly-built Temple from the ‘abomination of desolation’ (Matthew 24:15-26, 2 Thessalonians 2:4). Yeshua will restore Jerusalem and the nation of Isra’el to the Millennial glory promised in the Scriptures.  

Hanukkah is not a Jewish alternative to Christmas.  Changing the wrapping paper on a present or saying “Happy Hanukkah” rather than “Merry Christmas” changes nothing about the deeply rooted differences between the two. One is a celebration with unBiblical roots and decorated to entice the world into idolatry; the other is a memorial to those who fought against anti-semitism and stood against the destruction of  their faith in the God of Isra’el – the very thing the Christ Mass has done for centuries. Unlike the Christmas holiday, Hanukkah is a reminder from a century before the birth of Yeshua that no one, especially a modern ‘antiochus’ can remove the Torah that comes out of Zion, and the Word of the LORD that comes from Jerusalem; including the Vatican or the pope.

“For out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of Adonai from Yerushalayim” (Micah 4:2).

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing,  all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Modern Maccabean Revolt

“What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

In the days of Judah Maccabee, there was an attack on the Jewish people by the Greeks.   Not just on the Jewish people themselves, but on everything the God of Israel had given them and promised them in the Scriptures.  Everything … Jewish.

Historically, every king, emperor or leader who has done these things has been considered an enemy to Israel and the Jewish people.   The Pharaoh of Egypt, Haman in Persia, Caligula and Nero of Rome, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martin of the Spanish Inquisitions,  and all the way to Hitler of the modern era set themselves up as gods and tried to snuff out the lives of God’s chosen people.  Yet, there is still one more man of lawlessness to come, the one prophesied about in Daniel, spoken of by Yeshua, and explained by Paul. 

“The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. … And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (Daniel 9:26-27).

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).

“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Today, the same deceptive battle rages.  It could be called the modern Maccabean revolt because it is a rebellion against modern-day Greek and Roman ideologies that have created a religious system contrary to Biblical truth and its  spiritual and historical foundations.  This system teaches the Torah is nullified, the Temple is unnecessary, the Levitical priesthood is obsolete, the dietary laws are cancelled, circumcision is legalism, the Sabbath is changed, and the Jewish people are rejected by God.   Everything … Jewish.

These un-Biblical doctrines transform the God of the Holy Scriptures into an institutionally designed god.   Jesus is misrepresented as a Greek-based Roman triune godhead rather than the King of the Jews, the Messiah of Israel. Many who could come to know Yeshua are driven away from a deeper walk of faith with God through these false and misguided teachings.  Those who represent these teachings are not giving the world the good news of salvation; they are twisting the truth and giving the father of lies a platform on which to present his message of lawlessness and men transform themselves into the image of their own imaginings of ‘god’.  This is nothing more than the work of the Adversary, the antichrist or man of lawlessness prophesied by Daniel, Yeshua, and Paul.

There is nothing new under the heavens.  There will always be lawless men who want to destroy the Jewish people along with their God-given Biblical heritage.  There will also be men and women, Jews and gentiles,  like Judah Maccabee and his father, who fight against such destruction and assimilation.  These will place a Hanukkah menorah in their window to show the Jewish people they stand with them and the God of Israel.  They will light the eight festive candles each night to proclaim to the world that they, along with the brothers and sisters of the Jewish Messiah, will never assimilate into a Hellenized Roman religious system that advances the coming man of lawlessness. 

The ancient Greeks didn’t win against the small Maccabean army; Antiochus Epiphanes didn’t destroy the Jews or the Torah they guarded for centuries. The modern-day Greeks won’t win against a royal priesthood that has begun to stand against the lies and deceptions established over the centuries by the church and church fathers.    The modern-day Romans in Vatican City can’t stop the Torah from coming from Zion and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  The battle is the LORD’s and when the Messiah of Israel returns, all things will be restored and re-dedicated hanukkah to the LORD: the Torah’s teachings and instructions, the eternal Levitical priesthood, the seventh-day Sabbath as the covenant sign between God and His people, circumcision for entrance into the Sanctuary, and the Temple as envisioned by Ezekiel with a dedicated altar of sacrifice.  Everything … Jewish. 

©2013 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.